Shire Velocipede, 1879

Shire Velocipede, 1879

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The stiff wood and metal frame of velocipedes resulted in a rough ride, garnering them the “boneshaker” moniker. Propelled by pedals attached to the front axle, velocipedes were the historical antecedent to the high-wheeler and safety bicycle later in 19th century. This velocipede bears a brass plate that reads "J. Shire, Patent Reallowed May 10, 1879, Detroit, Mich." The plate is somewhat curious as the only patent granted to John Shire was patent number 216,231 which he applied for on May 6, 1879 and was granted June 3, 1879. Shire’s patent was an “improvement in velocipedes” that mainly related to an adjustable hammock-seat on the cycle.
Currently not on view
Object Name
velocipede, wooden
date made
Associated Place
United States: Michigan
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of C. Howard Buckler
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
America on the Move
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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